Psalms Made Singable

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the most beautiful of all liturgical forms, Anglican chant employs the beauty of harmony supported by the dynamic range of the organ to communicate the message of the psalms. Of all the ways of singing the psalms, Anglican chant is both the most expressive and the most difficult to master.

Why so difficult?

Anglican chanting began in British cathedrals where it developed from plainchant and continues to this day. The typical British cathedral choir sings the complete Psalter in monthly cycles, once every 30 days, every month of the year. This led to a "short-hand" musical notation in which the chant is printed at the top of the page and the psalm text is printed beneath it. The "pointing" (the method of assigning words or syllables to the music) is expressed with symbols. This system works beautifully for choirs that sing the complete Psalter a dozen times a year. It does not work so well with choirs that sing them less often. The system also requires the organist to memorize the chant and read only the text—a frightening experience requiring nerves of steel and the concentration of a brain surgeon. British cathedral organists can play these chants in their sleep. Their American counterparts in parish churches just have nightmares.

The Solution?

Psalms Made Singable aligns words and music so that even the amateur parish choir can sing the psalms with confidence. The organist doesn't have any music to memorize and there is room in the score to indicate registration changes. The chants have been carefully chosen and each psalm has music that best expresses it's meaning. Many have been transposed to lower keys with ranges that are more comfortable for the amateur singer.